The Daily Star

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Friday, April 20, 2018

News of: Saturday, 23rd of February, 2008

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Titas Gas to abolish posts of meter readers, supervisors

A new organogram for Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Ltd has been prepared abolishing about 200 posts of meter readers and supervisors following discovery of large-scale corruption in the organisation.

Fahim frontrunner for Pak premier post

Pakistan's two biggest opposition parties sought to thrash out their choice for premier yesterday after agreeing to form a coalition government that could drive President Pervez Musharraf from power.

EC to wait till HC picks out the mainstream

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) ATM Shamsul Huda yesterday said the Election Commission (EC) is absolutely neutral and there is no reason for it to favour any particular party.

Slaughtered sick chickens on sale at city markets

A number of unscrupulous poultry sellers in city markets have been putting members of the public at risk of avian flu infection by selling slaughtered sick chickens at low prices.

42 artefacts return from Paris today

Forty-two artefacts from Bangladesh sent to Paris for an exhibition at Guimet Museum are being brought back today.

Edible oil market volatile for lack of monitoring

The country's edible oil market has been destabilised for a long time now, causing immense sufferings to consumers, since there is no official regulation controlling prices of the essential commodity.

BTTB signs back-up optical fibre deal

Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB) signed a Tk 18 crore deal with Power Grid Company of Bangladesh (PGCB) on Wednesday for installation of a back-up optical fibre network between Dhaka and Cox's Bazar to ensure better access to the submarine cable system.

Take steps for land reforms, recovery of khas land

The caretaker government should take initiatives immediately for land reforms, recovery of khas land from grabbers and establishment of rights of the landless people, said economists and experts on land related issues yesterday.

AL to demand announcement of poll date

Awami League (AL) will demand announcement of a date for the next general election at the second-round talks with the Election Commission (EC) scheduled to begin Monday.

Indo-Bangladesh games to help expand ties: CA

As Indo-Bangladesh Bangla Games got off to a gala start here yesterday, Chief Adviser (CA) Fakhruddin Ahmed hoped such camaraderie in the sporting arena will also help expand relations in other areas between Bangladesh and India.

Gen Moeen to get 6 horses as gift from counterpart

During his six-day visit to India from February 25, Bangladesh Army Chief Gen Moeen U Ahmed will get a unique present--a set of six horses, two of them Hanoverian stallion and four mares--from his Indian counterpart Gen Deepak Kapoor at a spectacular ceremony.

Batters fail, bowlers shine

Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful said before the first Test against South Africa that his bowlers have the ability to take twenty wickets but the batting remains a headache.

US decides to respect wishes of Pak voters

The world super power has now decided to respect the wishes of Pakistani voters expressed on February 18 polls.

Hillary accuses Obama of political plagiarism

Hillary Rodham Clinton accused presidential rival Barack Obama of political plagiarism Thursday night, but drew boos from a Democratic debate audience when she ridiculed him as the candidate of "change you can Xerox."

Canadian lawyer Sloan not allowed to talk to press

Visiting Canadian lawyer William Sloan could not hold the press conference he planned for yesterday after the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel had cancelled his hall room booking.

Airliner with 46 aboard crashes in Venezuela

A Venezuelan airliner that went missing with 46 people on board apparently crashed in the Venezuelan Andes, a regional civil defence official told AFP, citing witnesses in the area.

Voter listing begins in Dahagram

Voter registration and work for preparation of national identity cards began in the Bangladeshi enclave of Dahagram Angorpota of Patgram upazila in Lalmonirhat yesterday.

Bangladeshi shot dead by BSF

Indian Border Security Force (BSF) shot dead a Bangladeshi cattle trader at Gunarajpur border village under North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal early yesterday.

Jatka seized in Narayanganj, Chandpur

Coastguard members yesterday seized about 70 maunds of Hilsa fry in separate drives in Narayanganj and Chandpur.

Pabna Jorbangla temple in ruins, terracotta falling apart

The Jorbangla temple, built in early 17th century at Kalachandpara village in Pabna, is in ruins due to negligence of the authorities, said sources at the Department of Archaeology.

14,000 chickens of 4 farms in Savar culled

Around 14,000 chickens of four poultry farms in Savar municipal area were culled yesterday after detection of avian influenza at a farm.

Writer Anisul Huq hurt in road mishap

Popular writer, dramatist, novelist and journalist Anisul Huq was seriously injured in a road accident in the city's Shahbagh area yesterday.

Bomb kills 13 wedding party members in Pakistan

A roadside bomb ripped through cars carrying wedding guests in northwestern Pakistan yesterday, killing at least 13 people including the bride and wounding a dozen others, police said.


Private airlines spreading wings

The national flag carrier, Bangladesh Biman, nose-diving through years of mismanagement and corruption, its reconstituted incarnation will take a long time in paying dividends. The market size of passengers, estimated to be around Tk 3500 crore, is only touched on the fringes by our airlines. In this context, we are heartened to note that the private airlines of Bangladesh are growing at par with the global aviation industry's annual growth rate of 7.6 percent. Largely operating on the domestic routes with limited fleet strength, the 7-8 percent growth rate is quite a success story. Imagine what it could be like if airlines of Bangladesh origin could develop adequately to claim a greater share of the aviation market!

Picnic ends in tragedy

We express our deepest condolence at the death of 14 people in a road accident on their way to attend a picnic party at Cox's Bazar. The tragedy to occur while the workers were out to enjoy a holiday on the occasion of International Mother Language Day is heartrending indeed. The accident took place when the bus carrying about 50 garment workers from Chittagong met with a head on collision with a truck and hit a roadside electric pole. The live wire fell on the bus and set it on fire.

Meeting our growing demand for energy

It was most interesting to read in the media that the government is planning to set up four more economic zones (EZs) in the country aimed at attracting greater domestic and foreign direct investment and fostering economic growth. The World Bank has apparently sponsored this latest plan. Under this concept the Comilla EPZ and the Hi-Tech Park for information technology in Kaliakoir under Gazipur district will be transformed into economic zones. It has subsequently been also revealed that the government has decided to establish two new Export Processing Zones (EPZs) -- the Meghna Export Processing Zone at Gazaria in Munshiganj and the Feni Export Processing Zone at Feni.

Anxious time in Pakistan

I do not rule out rigging in the Pakistan election. My belief is that the seats the Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid), the King's party, and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement have won are far more than their hold or stock in the country suggests. The combined strength of the Pakistan People's Party (87) and the Nawaz Sharif's Muslim League (66) is far less than their popularity. The two should have got two-thirds majority in the National Assembly while they have secured 153.

Food price-hike must be contained

At this moment all including professionals, intellectuals, elite, specialists have the same question on their lips: “will the prices of food stuff come down”. Simultaneously all seek a consolation by referring to the fact that the present CTG has achieved a lot of successes, so it may be able to contain the price hike of foodstuff, too. The most common doctrine of economics is “when supply goes up in relation to demand, the price decreases and vice versa.” It is not necessary to become an economist to understand this doctrine. It may be mentioned that in mid 2006 the price of sugar was Tk 65 per kg, but it came down to Tk 25 per kg in the 1st quarter of 2007. It happened so because at that time despite hundreds of tons of sugar lying in the godowns of the local sugar mills, more sugar arrived from India through import or smuggling. This was clearly a game of demand and supply. I believe currently the price hike of foodstuff is also the same game though there may be some hoarding and profiteering motive, but that would be automatically eliminated if the supply goes up substantially.


Tigers hinging on Day Two

The Bangladesh batsmen's estimation of what they would achieve ended up being nowhere in the ballpark as they descended into an all too familiar capitulation on the first day of the first Test against South Africa yesterday.

A Shuvo day

Captain Suharwardi Shuvo salvaged, inspired and ran ragged to help Bangladesh clinch a 13-run win over England yesterday in the ICC Under-19 World Cup at the Royal Selangor Club ground in Kuala Lumpur.

A subdued start

The 2nd Indo-Bangladesh Bangla Games got off to a colourless start at the Banga-bandhu Natio-nal Stadium yesterday, frustrating the moderate holiday crowd who had expected a grand exhibition.

Bucknor raises wrong finger

Famous Jamaican umpire Steve Bucknor is in his elements again. This time it was Mohammad Rafique, who fell in his trap of oversight, misjudgement, the dreaded nod and yes, that slow, camera-hogging raised index finger.

Today's events in Bangla Games

Competitions in all nine disciplines of the 2nd Indo-Bangladesh Bangla Games will start today in Dhaka and outside the capital.

11th SA Games in Nov-Dec '08

The 11th South Asian (SA) Games will be held in Dhaka during winter next year, it was decided at a meeting of the South Asia Olympic Council (SAOC) yesterday.

Australia enter finals

Australia booked their place in the tri-series finals with a 24-run win over Sri Lanka in a rain-affected one-day match here on Friday.

Impetus with England

England have their tails up going into the one-day cricket international showdown against New Zealand here Saturday as they look to square the series in what promises to be a high-scoring spectacle.

'Hardest ODI knock'

Australia secured their place in the CB Series finals with their win over Sri Lanka but the match was another one Ricky Ponting will want to wipe from his personal highlights reel. Ponting managed 11 from 34 balls to take his tournament tally to 64 at 10.66 and he even found a new way to sabotage himself, run out when he tried to take a single after hitting the ball back to the bowler.

Fabio's formula for success

Fabio Capello has warned England's stars they must adapt to his tactical demands if they want to succeed with the national team.

Ponting blames ICC for IPL mutiny

Concerned over long-term effects of Indian Premier League's money power, Australian captain Ricky Ponting has blamed the International Cricket Council for not acting in time to develop the Twenty20 format to its potential and trying to put lid on it.

Pawar minds own business

BCCI president Sharad Pawar yesterday said he avoided poking his nose into each and everything in the cricket administration.

Good start for Rani

The final phase of the 29th Aromatic Gold National Women's Chess Championship, organised by Bangladesh Chess Federation, began yesterday at the Chess Federation hall-room.

Mithun carries Lalmatia

Lalmatia Club snatched a dramatic one-run win over Wanderers Club in the First Division Cricket League at the Dhanmondi Cricket Stadium yesterday.

Dravid satisfied with squad

Rahul Dravid has said that he was happy with the players the Bangalore franchise had procured in the IPL auction, adding that his side had the players who can handle pressure.

Kohli crushes WI hopes

India captain Virat Kohli struck a century on a day dominated by bowlers to eliminate the West Indies from cricket's under-19 World Cup on Friday.

Germans, English sail

Bayern Munich led a quartet of German clubs into the last 16 of the UEFA Cup when the competition favourites thumped Aberdeen 5-1 on Thursday.

Depth to determine title

Nemanja Vidic believes Manchester United's superior strength in depth will help his side overhaul Arsenal in the race for the Premier League title.

Inter fret on defence

If anything can halt Inter Milan's seemingly insatiable title charge this season it seems that injuries might be their trickiest stumbling block.

Real face bogey side

Modest Getafe have been a thorn in the side of Real Madrid in recent meetings and they have the chance to be a nuisance again when they visit the leaders in the Primera Liga on Sunday.

Kahn warns rivals

Bayern Munich captain Oliver Kahn has warned Hamburg his side are approaching top form ahead of their Bundesliga clash at the Allianz Arena on Sunday.

Ronaldo ponders retirement

Three-time FIFA player of the year Ronaldo is unsure whether he will be able to continue playing after rupturing a tendon in his left knee.

Fergie fuming at agents

Sir Alex Ferguson believes Wes Brown's decision to reject Manchester United's new contract offer is typical of the way top players let agents run their lives.

UEFA Cup last 16 line-up

UEFA Cup last 16 line-up after the completion of the round of 32 on Thursday:

Hitzfeld happy at win

Bayern Munich coach Ottmar Hitzfeld admitted he was happy to make full use of his squad as his side eased their way into the UEFA Cup's last 16 with a 5-1 win over Aberdeen here Thursday.

Raul, Aragones bury hatchet

Spain coach Luis Aragones and Raul joined forces on Thursday to call for an end to the debate over whether the Real Madrid striker should be included in the national squad ahead of Euro 2008.

Capello warns Liverpool

England manager Fabio Capello has warned Liverpool not to think they have sewn up qualification for the Champions League quarterfinals after beating Inter Milan 2-0 at home on Tuesday.


Bogra foundries face closure on price hike of raw materials

Iron foundries in Bogra district face closure in the wake of price hike of raw materials, industry people have said.

Sugar prices up in Rajshahi as govt mills stop sales

Sugar prices increased by Tk 7 a kg in retail markets in one week in Rajshahi region after the government on Monday stopped selling sugar from eight mills in northern region.

Ctg int’l trade fair yet to gain momentum

The annual Chittagong International Trade Fair (CITF) that began on Tuesday on Polo Ground here was yet to gain momentum yesterday, the weekly holiday, as many stalls were under construction.

Manila rice plea a wake-up call for a hungry world

The Philippines' unusual plea for Hanoi to guarantee rice supplies is the clearest sign of a growing global anxiety over how nations will feed their people.

Govt to consult stakeholders to make budget

The government will prepare the next budget in consultation with stakeholders, National Board of Revenue (NBR) Chairman Abdul Mazid said on Thursday.

Benapole land Port revenue beats target

Benapole Customs House earned 9.75 percent more revenue during the first six months of the current fiscal year from the strategic target of Tk 664.20 crore, sources said.

No FTA with India for now, says US

Not willing to tread the path taken by EU and ASEAN for market-opening trade pacts with India, the US has said it is not ready for a free trade deal with the world's second-fastest growing economy as it cannot fully open agricultural imports from American farmers.

GP offers new tariffs to prepaid users

Mobile phone operator Grameenphone Ltd has introduced two new tariff packages for its prepaid smile and djuice subscribers, says a press release.

HSBC named world's most valuable banking brand

HSBC has been named the world's most valuable banking brand, according to an annual index of 500 leading global banks.

Negotiators start to make Doha round trade-offs

Negotiators are starting to make trade-offs between agriculture and industrial goods in the long-running Doha round as they grope towards a deal to open up world trade this year, diplomats said Thursday.

China urges US to treat its firms fairly

China urged the US on Thursday to deal with its companies fairly after a proposed telecom takeover involving a Chinese enterprise was blocked due to apparent US national security concerns.

US economic gauge weakens

A key forward-looking US economic gauge posted a decline in January for a fourth straight month suggesting "weak growth" ahead for the world's largest economy, the Conference Board said Thursday.

Oil below $100 in Asia

World oil prices were trading below 100 dollars in Asian trade Friday after a stronger-than-expected rise in US crude-oil reserves calmed supply jitters, dealers said.

Closure looms on 12 Norway firms lacking gender equality

Twelve small Norwegian companies, including first division football club Fredrikstad, have received an ultimatum to ensure boardroom gender equality or shut down, Norwegian authorities said on Friday.

S Africa, India agree on multiple entry visas for businesses

South Africa and India agreed to allow businessmen travelling between the two countries multiple entry visas, as part of several agreements signed in Pretoria on Friday.

Weekly Currency Roundup

February 17-February 20, 2008

Local FX Market

Local inter-bank FX market liquidity improved slightly during the week; however the BDT remained almost unchanged against the USD.


Hold trial of war criminals, work for establishing democracy

Speakers at a roundtable yesterday urged the caretaker government to carry out only those activities which are necessary for establishing democracy.

Media urged to report carefully on bird flu

Speakers at a seminar yesterday called on the media to report carefully on bird flu so that vested groups cannot take business advantage of the crisis, which affected the poultry sector severely.

'Extend social cooperation to save poultry industry'

Agriculture and Water Resources Adviser CS Karim yesterday said all would have to extend social cooperation to save the country's poultry industry, hit badly by avian influenza.

Road accidents kill eight

At least eight people were killed and 13 others injured in separate road accidents in Mymensingh, Jhenidah, Lalmonirhat, Gopalganj and Sirajganj yesterday and on Thursday.

President, CA greet Brunei counterparts

President Iajuddin Ahmed and Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed have greeted their counterparts of Brunei Darussalam on the occasion of the National Day of Brunei today.

Dhaka Polytech Instt dormitories reopen today

Authorities will reopen the dormitories of Dhaka Polytechnic Institute for the students today after 11-days of vacation.

Titas Gas pipeline catches fire

A Titas Gas pipeline caught fire in the city's Sayedabad area last night, causing disruption to gas supply in the area for about two hours.

Manpower shortage cripple Barisal R&H ferry division

A total of 63 posts, out of 87 of Barisal Roads and Highways ferry division, have been lying vacant since long hampering ferry service in the region.

'Take steps to preserve Chameri House'

Ninety-one eminent personalities, including poets, litterateurs, journalists and educationists, yesterday urged the caretaker government to take necessary measures immediately to preserve the historic Chameri House, presently called 'Chameli House'.

Chehlum of Khaleda's mother held in Dinajpur

Chehlum of Begum Tayeba Majumder, mother of BNP chairperson and former prime minister Khaleda Zia, was held at her Balubari residence in the town yesterday.

Interpol Secy Gen arrives Feb 29

Interpol Secretary General Ronald K Noble will arrive in Dhaka on February 29 on a one-day visit.

BBC Bangladesh Sanglap today

The 26th edition of the BBC Bangladesh Sanglap will be held at Hard Point in Sirajganj today.

One killed, 10 injured in Narsingdi clash

A young man was killed and at least 10 others were injured in a fierce clash over trifles between two groups of people at Rajnagar village in Raipura upazila yesterday evening.

Recitation for children held at Bangla Academy

The final rounds of recitation and music competition for children were held on the 22nd day of 'Amar Ekushey Book Fair' at the Bangla Academy in the city yesterday morning.

'Construct multipurpose shelters in coastal areas'

Civil society members yesterday called on the caretaker government to construct multipurpose shelters in the natural disaster-prone coastal areas so that they can be utilised for the local people throughout the year.

Ex-AL lawmaker Lutfar Rahman passes away

Lutfar Rahman, a former Awami League lawmaker and one of the organisers of the Liberation War, passed away at LabAid Hospital in Dhaka early yesterday at the age of 81.

Appeal for help

Ruhul Amin Biswas, a first-year honours student of Islamic history at Government Devendra College in Manikganj, is a kidney patient.

'Local govt should receive funds from nat'l budget'

Political empowerment would not be effective without economic empowerment, said the leaders and activists of the Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) at a workshop yesterday.


Third faction in Sylhet BNP

Dogged by internal feud, Sylhet district BNP is now facing another split as some bigwigs in the committee led by once Saifur loyalist MA Haque have broken ranks with the BNP stalwart.

Pabna ACC probes wealth of 2 ex-MPs, 2 municipal chairmen

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in Pabna has started inquiry about six corruption suspects including two former lawmakers and two incumbent municipality chairmen.

'New ordinance likely to make police accountable'

Civil society leaders in Khagra-chhari yesterday said the present score-based promotion system, retained in the draft of Bangladesh Police Ordinance, 2007, should be changed.

FFs meet in Sylhet today to press for trial of war criminals

Freedom fighters of sectors 3, 4 and 5 have arranged a daylong reunion at Sylhet Government Alia Madrasa ground today to press the demand for trial of the war criminals.

Grenade found in Khagrachhari

A grenade was found at Chow-dhuripara under Ramgarh upazila in hill district Khagrachhari on Thursday.

Full production in Alim Jute Mill from Mar 1

BJMC chairman Ataharul Islam has said state-owned Alim Jute Mill would go into full production from March 1.

Family threatened to withdraw cases

Father of a slain schoolboy, at a press conference held at Patuakhali Press Club Thursday night, has demanded exemplary punishment to killers.

'Ensure rights of Harijans'

Speakers at a meeting held here yesterday stressed the need for ensuring rights of Harijans.

Three fishermen drown in Bay: 1 body recovered

Body of one of three fishermen who were drowned while fishing in the Bay of Bengal on Wednesday was recovered yesterday.


UN introduces Iran nuclear sanctions

Britain and France formally introduced a Security Council resolution Thursday calling for a third round of sanctions against Iran over its failure to suspend uranium enrichment.

US, UK ask victors not to push out Musharraf

In a strategy some Western diplomats admit could badly backfire, the Bush administration has made clear it wishes to continue to support President Pervez Musharraf even after the defeat of his allies in Monday's election, according to a report by The Independent on Thursday.

Decades of enmity threaten Pakistani coalition

After two decades of bickering and ousting each other, the parties of Pakistan's slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif now face a struggle to work together in their newly-formed coalition, analysts say.

8 killed in Lanka airstrike

At least eight civilians died in an air attack in northern Sri Lanka yesterday, Tamil Tiger rebels said after the military announced an escalation of strikes against the rebels.

Russia blames, warns West over Kosovo

Russia on Friday blamed supporters of Kosovo's independence for triggering embassy attacks in Belgrade and warned Nato and the European Union against setting a precedent for "brute force" in Kosovo.

Nawaz, Shahbaz elected Pak parliamentary leaders

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz's (PML-N) central executive committee (CEC) pledged on Thursday the party would not become part of a coalition government that might compromise on the sacked judges' restoration issue.

Suu Kyi's polls ban on UN envoy's mind

Myanmar's generals have agreed to meet the UN special envoy next month to discuss their 'road map to democracy', which bars opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from elections.

Miliband admits two US rendition flights refuelled on British soil

British government officials expressed embarrassment and anger at Washington last night after they were forced to admit that US rendition flights carrying terror suspects for secret interrogation had twice landed on British soil.

War crimes court confirms jail terms for Sierra Leone rebels

A special UN-backed court for Sierre Leone yesterday confirmed jail terms of up to 50 years for three feared rebel leaders found guilty of crimes against humanity during the country's civil war.

Castro calls for change in US

In his first comments since announcing he would step down as Cuba's president after almost 50 years, Fidel Castro lashed out yesterday at US presidential hopefuls' calls for change here, saying the only change needed is in the United States.

Thousands rally in fresh Armenian election protest

Tens of thousands of opposition supporters demonstrated in Armenia's capital Yerevan for a third day yesterday vowing to keep protesting until the results of a presidential election are overturned.

Thousands rally for Israel town in firing line of Gaza rockets

About 10,000 Israelis gathered in Sderot yesterday to do their shopping in an act of solidarity with the southern town that is regularly targeted by rocket and mortar fire from Gaza, organisers said.

On border, Pak polls raise hopes for peace with India

Every evening as dusk falls on the India-Pakistan border post near Lahore, crowds gather on either side of the frontier and scream slogans at each other in a choreographed show of bravado.

G8 urged to meet Kyoto Protocol goals

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, on closing the GLOBE forum on climate change yesterday, called on the Group of Eight (G8) developed nations to meet greenhouse-gas reduction targets set out in the Kyoto Protocol.

India sets wages for housemaids abroad

India has begun rolling out mandatory minimum wage requirements for housemaids working in the Gulf and parts of Africa and Southeast Asia, a minister said yesterday.

Indian state bars controversial Bollywood film

An Indian state yesterday ordered cinema halls not to screen a controversial film featuring Bollywood's most glamorous star Aishwarya Rai after violent demonstrations.

Thailand heart patients caught in drug dilemma

Some 34,000 Thai heart disease sufferers may lose access to cheap drugs because the government has halted imports of the medicine pending a review of its generics programme, an activist said yesterday.

Police to question Sarkozy's ex-wife over SMS

French police plan to question President Nicolas Sarkozy's ex-wife Cecilia over allegations that he sent her a text message offering to call off his marriage if she took him back, a judicial source said yesterday.

China to launch second lunar probe in 2009

China hopes to launch its second moon-orbiting satellite in 2009, state media reported yesterday, as the country steps up its space programme.

Brazilian river ferry death toll rises to 14

The confirmed number of people drowned when a ferry sank on Brazil's Amazon River rose to 14 yesterday with the recovery of three more bodies, a rescue commander told the state Agencia Brasil news agency.

Arts & Entertainment

Amar Ekushey programme by Padatik Natya Sangsad

TO observe 'Amar Ekushey', cultural organisation Padatik Natya Sangsad-Bangladesh organised a daylong programme at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy premises on February 21. Titled “Doshom Padatik Ekushey Shangskritik Shammelon” the event was divided into three sessions.

Tobias Biancone on strengthening ITI as a platform

Swiss poet-playwright Tobias Biancone was appointed as the Secretary General of ITI Worldwide Committee on last February 1. He is also the founder of the Playwrights' Forum, ITI. Plays by him such as The Spy, The Half Truth, Exhibition Opera (Derunter Mensch) and others have all been well received in Europe. This year a collection of his poems will be published in Bangla. Biancone is participating at the ITI Theatre Festival '08 in Dhaka. This is Biancone's third visit to Dhaka. The Daily Star recently spoke with the playwright.

Musical Soiree at Chhayanat

To mark the International Mother Language day, Chhayanat arranged a musical soiree at its Sanskriti Bhaban Auditorium on February 21. At the programme, artistes of Chhayanat presented songs on our language, martyrs of the Language Movement and devotion to the country.

Introducing children to Bangla alphabets

Cultural organisation Karok Natya Shamproday (KNS), arranged a handwriting competition for children at the Central Shaheed Minar premises yesterday, as part of their 'Amar Ekushey' programme.

Weeklong Ekushey Book Fair begins in Pabna

The weeklong “Ekushey Boi Mela” organised by the Sammilito Sanskritik Jote, Pabna at the local Town Hall premises was inaugurated by Mili Rahman, the widow of Birsreshtha Matiur Rahman and the Chairperson of Matiur Rahman Smriti Foundation, on February 21.

Music and handwriting competitions by Nazrul Institute

To mark the International Mother Language Day, Nazrul Institute arranged a three-day competition on children's handwriting and Nazrul songs, starting from February 19. As part of the event, discussion and a cultural programme were also held at the Institute. Winners of the competitions received prizes at the programme.


The return of democrats and some questions

Cynics say that in Bangladesh, the sensible position is pessimism. In such a background it is not surprising to see our voluble elite quite often wishing or predicting a worst case scenario. Many amongst us have a mindset that expects deterioration in everything. Still others would say that at best status quo ante will prevail.

Education is prerequisite to women's emancipation

Under pressure from activists -- and to help win over female voters -- successive governments in the past tried to enforce laws to protect women. In 1995 as the acid attacks spiralled, the Parliament passed the Women and Child Repression Control Act, stipulating death sentence as maximum penalty for such assaults. Sadly true, laws are enacted in the Parliament but never enforced in the houses and streets of the country. In the meantime the plight of the women in the country has gone appallingly bad. With the Chief Adviser making a disclosure in the 11th national conference 2008 of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad on January 17 last in the city that the government would announce a women development policy soon to ensure gender equality in society (The Daily Star, Jan 18), there is a flicker of hope again in the air.

Guru Rabidasji's broad based humanity

Every year, the Rabidas community across the sub-continent celebrate anniversary of birth of their spiritual leader Guru Rabidasji for days together on the occasion of full moon in the month of Magh (this year coinciding February 20-22). Guru Rabidasji was born on this holy full moon of Magh 631 years ago to the cobbler couple Raghuram and Raghurani in Gobardhanpur village of Kashi city in Uttar Pradesh state of India.

A new state emerges in Europe

The unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo possibly ends speculation but the rise in tension in the Balkans. Both Serbia and Russia opposed the declaration while the United States, Great Britain, France and Germany recognized the newly emerged sovereign and independent Kosovo. Balkan countries such as Romania and Bulgaria have not recognised Kosovo. Neither has China. Possibly Slovakia and Cyprus will also not follow the foot print of big countries in recognising Kosovo. Spain has expressed reservation to recognition to 'separatist group'. Spain has been facing similar situation for a long time from its ETA separatist population whose aims has been to win Basque as their homeland and freedom from Spain. This movement began in 1959.


Making technology culture specific

Infants primarily respond to their surroundings by their own gesture and then gradually learn the language to develop physical and mental growth. This language is known as mother tongue, which has a great impact on personal, social and national activities.

Basis SoftExpo ends with promises

The five-day long mega ICT exposition of the country, BASIS SoftExpo 2008, ended on Feb 18 with the view that there is no alternative to ICT.

IBM eager to help local ICT industry

Technology giant IBM (International Business Machines) has showed its keen interest to discover the untapped potential in Bangladesh. Muhammad Hussain, vice president, Global Business Development, IBM Corporation USA revealed IBM's interest at a seminar organised by North South University (NSU) on February 17.

Asus unveils F3Jr notebook

AsusTeK Computer Inc. (Asus), a leading provider of high-performance notebook computers, recently unveiled the F3J series notebook in the Bangladesh market.

HP Science of Brilliant Printing Road show begins

Hewlett Packard (HP), global leader in printing technology, has started the countrywide 'Science behind Brilliant Printing' campaign.


Have Finished Sewing The Quilt, Don't Worry

Once political workers and those who struggled for freedom began to be captured after the first language movement of 1948, things continued pretty much the same way till 1971. Once they put you away, there was no letting you out. Only when big pushes were applied did prison doors open. Like, for example, the big push of 21st February 1952, the push generated by the Jugto Front win of the general elections of '54, the NDF of '62, the shove of the 11 points of '69. And then at the beginning of the fight for freedom in 1971 many jail roads became wide city boulevards. During those first days time hung especially heavy. All those who were inside jails would think the whole earth was desolate. When would they awaken and rise, our students? Noakhali's peasant leader Momtaz Miah was a village chairman, got hauled into prison on one of the very first sweeps. He would say, “Get the boat on dry land, sailorman, now the tide's at ebb. When the tide's in, it'll lift the boar clear, it'll be that kind of a tide.

The First Poem Written On Ekushey

(The very first poem on Ekushey - titled 'We Are Here Not To Weep' - is generally thought to have been written by Mahbub-ul-Alam Chowdhury. It was written on that very day, in Chittagong, at 7:00 p.m. - most probably as news of the police killings filtered through to the port city over the wires in that far less communicable time. For quite some time only fragments of the poem survived, and it was only later that the whole poem was found, and subsequently translated by Professor Kabir Chowdhury. While today it may sound very dated - it is impossible to think that such a poem would be written now even if the oppression and the killings were to take place on our streets at present - readers should remember that it is very much a poem written in the heat of the moment, in pure anger and indignation, with multiple references to demands for revenge and hanging of the murderers, as well as reflecting the university culture of that time, with its references to Aragon and Einstein. It was a far more innocent time.)

Poem on Ekushey

“The vine is weighed down
with pumpkin blossoms,

Strategic Issues

Between hope and despair

BANGLADESH has no option but democracy and democracy has no other option but the general election. Why then the election, which was about to be held on January 22, 2007, was denied to the people for two long years? Why did the people let out a sigh of relief when the designed election was stopped only ten days before the due date? It was a disaster aborted.

The Lebanon crisis

LEBANON is suffering from domestic political instability. At first it seems that this instability is a result of one side of the conflict, but in reality this conflict situation is related to the positions of the two sides, the Sinioran government and the opposition headed by Hezbollah. According to the constitution, the current government needs the support of two thirds of the members of Parliament plus one in order to form a new government. The Sinioran coalition and its associates, mainly Jared Eldan El Hariri, realized that they could not convince two-thirds of the 124 members of Parliament since they are trying to go against the constitution by forming a coalition led by Hezbollah who currently are only 52 members of Parliament. This effectively denies any chance of changing the constitution. However, as a compromise, Hezbollah has agreed to appoint Chief of Staff General Mechel Suliman as the new president and an agreed upon government of national unity with 10 ministers from Hezbollah, 10 ministers from the Sinioran faction and 10 ministers who would be appointed by the new president. The Sinioran government wants to exclude Hezbollah and its Christian ally led by General Michel On. Hezbollah's position is very solid in its rejection of any initiative that supports the Sinioran hegemony over Lebanon.

Pakistan election and Musharraf's fate

THE election on 18th February is being widely seen as make or break for Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf. Since 1999 he was able to manipulate the political events in Pakistan and became the main ally of the US on war on terror.

Seoul commissions Type 214 sub

The Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN) has commissioned the first of three KSS-2 (Type 214) submarines in a closed ceremony at Chinhae naval base.

Eurocopter, Mach Aero To Start Production in India

NEW DELHI - French companies Eurocopter and Mach Aero have agreed to establish a manufacturing unit in India. The memorandum of agreement signed by the two firms here Feb. 18 during Defexpo, the biennial defense show, primarily aims at Eurocopter helping Mach Aero to establish its manufacturing presence in the country, a senior Eurocopter executive said.

Star Books Review

Tired politicians, dead men and abducted women

It was a quixotic, wrenching break-up of a country that Mountbatten and Cyril Radcliffe brought about in August 1947. There is little question that the last colonial viceroy was a man in a hurry, guided more by thoughts of his place in history than in the inevitability of the partition of India. And Radcliffe, having never before set foot in the subcontinent, found it convenient to be ensconced in a room and slice through regions in the Punjab and Bengal he thought should fall to India or Pakistan, as the case might be. The results were horrendous. Villages were ruptured and even homes lay in pieces, with part in one country and part in another. Just how uncertain and fraught with risks independence would turn out to be was made palpable in August when the Chakmas of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, happy in the belief that they were not to be part of Muslim Pakistan, hoisted the Indian tricolour. They would be in for a rude shock. Only hours later, they would find themselves herded into Pakistan. Their sufferings had only begun.

Divided villages and divisive faiths

Sangshaptak is a challenging and illuminating work by Shahidullah Kaiser, a writer of deep social and political commitment. A Communist Party worker from his student days and an activist in the 1952 language movement as well as the 1971 war of liberation, Kaiser was born on 16 February 1927.

In the glare of the martinets

No one, except a cadet going off to join an alien institution, understands how it feels like going away at a very tender age. No one can imagine what a 12-year-old boy has to go through when he is sent off to a cadet college. No one but a cadet will understand what sort of man he becomes when he experiences all trials and tribulations, happiness and blues when he passes out of a cadet college to face life's real battles. No one, other than he himself, will understand the relationship with his comrades, who are products of the same cadet college.

A bizarre darkness

Becoming a literary masterpiece is not this book's professed goals. This is supposed to be precisely what it claims to be: a diary written in a particular circumstance. But like all other good, clear and sincere writing, it transcends the mundane. In the process it turns itself into a compelling read, claiming the attention of anyone interested in knowing about a series of events that shook the nation beginning August 2007. This is a unique glimpse of a sensitive and unbending intellect looking at events from his own perspective, a perspective you can disagree with but cannot ignore.

At a glance

Essays On Environment
Jafar Ahmed Chowdhury

A good collection of essays is here from one who has been seriously involved with the issue. The writer has long been a government official, which position has enabled him to come in contact with matters that have particularly concerned Bangladesh. There is a good chance the reader will find the essays stimulating. Some of the frills could have been avoided, though.

The Daily Star

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